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5 OFWs file illegal recruitment case against Afghan-based firm

By: - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 12:00 PM June 13, 2012

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – A construction firm based in Afghanistan was slapped with estafa and illegal recruitment cases filed by five overseas Filipino workers on Wednesday.

The complaint was filed by  Juanito Sofietes, Jericho Abaya, Wilmar Aldovino, Jennifer Abaya,  and Tommy Lobaton against Mac Roymon Cubelo and Rothchelle Calle, owners of RmR, a Filipino construction company operating inside Kandahar Airfield (KAF), a US military base in Afghanistan.

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It was filed before the NBI operations center, the operating arm of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Based on the complaint, the victims were recruited in the Philippines in July 2011 by Calle and were promised jobs inside the base for salaries ranging from $ 1,000-1,500 though they had to pay $ 2,500 each as placement fee for this opportunity to work in Afghanistan.

After paying the agreed amount, the five left Manila as tourists using visit visas for Dubai and they were taken inside the military airfield as workers for RmR.

Complainants claimed that after working for several months, their salaries were either underpaid or delayed.

In the case of Juanito Sofietes, Jericho Abaya and Tommy Lobaton, they did not receive at all any salaries for the whole ten months of working for RmR.

In January, Cubelo and Calle again recruited another batch of 25 former OFWs from Dubai, who paid $1,400 each to get a job at DFS, an airline company inside KAF.

All of them, according to recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani, suffered the same fate.

But Geslani said  some of the  new recruits were able to find work with other companies inside the base and were able to communicate with him and sought his help.

It was Geslani, who also assisted the five victims at the IACAT office.

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He said he sought the help of the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan which has jurisdiction over OFWs in Afghanistan.

“The rest of the group who arrived recently are hesitant to file charges. They were warned not to report the activities inside KAF,” Geslani said.

In fact, he said, the alleged recruiters had threatened to have the licenses of the two engineers of the new batch revoked by the PRC.

The security office inside KAF has launched an investigation on the matter and started looking for Calle and Cubelo, who are both believed to be in Dubai.

RmR has been blacklisted by Ronco, the consulting firm under COMKAF the NATO organization operating the KAF.

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TAGS: Afghanistan, Employment, estafa, Illegal recruitment, Judiciary
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